WHO issues emergency appeal for Lebanon as cross-border hostilities increase

WHO issues emergency appeal for Lebanon as cross-border hostilities increase

| Friday 17 November 2023

World Health Organization 

In response to increasing cross-border hostilities, WHO has released a flash appeal for readiness and response in Lebanon.

WHO is asking for funds to increase capacity for mass casualty management and emergency care, to ensure continuity of essential health services for vulnerable and affected populations, and to strengthen disease surveillance and control, among other actions.

WHO takes into account 2 possible scenarios in the appeal: if hostilities are confined to the south of Lebanon, the Organization estimates it will need US$ 6.7 million for readiness and response; if hostilities expand to the entire country, it will need US$ 11.1 million.

The appeal is part of an evolving WHO multi-country funding appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory and neighbouring countries, with an estimated overall funding requirement of US$ 140 million.

Lebanon is experiencing a prolonged economic crisis, which has reduced people’s income and access to health care. Shortages of medicines and catastrophic out-of-pocket health costs are common, while more than 40% of the health workforce is estimated to have left the country. It is estimated that 2 in 3 people in Lebanon need humanitarian assistance, including for health.

The ongoing hostilities in southern Lebanon and on the border with Israel and the uncertainty about the future are added burdens on the health system. To date, 77 people have been killed, 331 injured and over 26 000 people displaced within Lebanon. Three attacks on health care have also been reported.

WHO, along with the Ministry of Public Health and other partners, has begun preparing for the potential expansion of conflict. A public health emergency operations centre, led by the Ministry with WHO support, has been activated to coordinate the national response.

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